Heartfulness meditation, a simple heart-based meditation practice aimed at attaining a balanced state of mind, helps in reducing stress and improving the quality of sleep, revealed a study.
The mixed-method study was conducted by US researchers during the Covid-19 pandemic and was published recently in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, said Heartfulness Institute, which has its global headquarters in Hyderabad.
Heartfulness meditation was associated with significant reduction in perceived stress and improvement in the quality of sleep of participants who completed the online-based meditation programme.
Kamlesh Patel, also known as Daaji, the guide of Heartfulness meditation, underlines the need to immediately address stress in one's life.
"The simple focus of life is to become better and better each day. To achieve this we need to be in a state of complete awareness about our self and raise our consciousness in tune with our true nature. Stress is the modern day ill created by our inability to focus on things that matter. Stress and its negative impact on our overall wellbeing has slowly but steadily taken control of every individual," he said.
"While we know Covid-19 as the pandemic, the build-up of stress and its ill impacts is the bigger pandemic and equally a bigger health crisis. Stress needs our urgent attention as well and in consistent practice of meditation we have the most effective vaccination to ward off stress and is the visa for living your life in joy," he added.
The study was conducted by Dr Kunal Desai, Dr Priti Parikh and Dr Alpa Desai of the Department of Internal Medicine, Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright University, Ohio, and Prof Dr Pratibha Gupta, Food Nutrition and Health Agricultural Research Development Programme, Central State University, Ohio.
Stress and lack of quality sleep are considered serious public health challenges despite modern lifestyles, comforts, and technological advances. The Covid-19 pandemic has genuinely brought attention to this pre-existing stress problem by making it significantly worse.
The study aimed to investigate whether using a virtual heart-based meditation program is associated with improved stress levels and quality of sleep. The researchers enrolled 63 participants to receive an eight-week virtually conducted Heartfulness meditation program. Of these, 36 (57 per cent) completed the entire eight weeks of the Heartfulness meditation programme.
The participants were recommended to attend a minimum of two out of a total of eight virtual trainer-guided group Heartfulness relaxation and meditation sessions each week. These sessions, conducted by one of the authors and a Heartfulness trainer (KD), included 5-7 min of relaxation followed by 20 min of meditation.
They were also provided instructions on using the phone application called 'HeartsApp' on their phones. They could connect as an anonymous seeker with a Heartfulness trainer through the application and meditate without any audiovisual interaction. They were also suggested self-practices to the best of their abilities.
"Our study showed that following Heartfulness meditation practice, PSS and PSQI improved significantly in the participants from different parts of the United States. About 31 per cent were healthcare professionals, and the entire programme was conducted virtually. Based on these observations, we propose that meditation programmes offered via virtual platforms can offer a convenient, helpful, and easily accessible tool to a large community at once to help improve the psychological wellbeing of individuals," said Dr Kunal Desai, who led the study.
"The results of qualitative analysis in our study bring a unique perspective to this aspect as we were able to show that the participants' subjective experiences strongly supported the results of the survey findings. Thus, these results enhance our understanding of how Heartfulness meditation practice helps reduce stress and improve the quality of sleep. Our qualitative analysis suggests these effects could be because a simple heart-based meditation brought a 'calming effect' in our participants, resulting in an 'inner peace'. Such an effect also resulted in inner changes in our participants, including positive thinking, accepting and empathic attitude, and an increase in awareness of one's own emotions and the needs of others."
This study adds to the existing literature supporting the benefits of Heartfulness practice, as reported by some previous studies showing the benefit of Heartfulness relaxation and meditation to reduce stress, burnout, loneliness, and improve the quality of sleep.
Read More► Six Ways to Keep Exercising in Winter
In todays day and age with the kind of food available, nutrition is generally lacking in the growing kids. To build a strong immune system, children need the right and enough nutrients. Below are a few Superfoods which can help kids boost their immunity and help in their growth.
1. OZiva kids Superfood immunity Multi Gummies- OZiva Superfood Immunity Multi is a clean blend of powerful superfoods with Ayurvedic Herbs specially created to support enhanced immunity in children. It boosts and strengthens the immune system with plant-based Vitamin C, supports the production of white blood cells and antibodies to fight infections, reduces chances of infection with Zinc's anti-inflammatory properties,
helps keep the immune system balanced with Vitamin D by preventing it from overreacting, combats illnesses, increases immune cells and maintains healthy immune system with plant-based extracts of Elderberry, Amla and Acerola Cherry. These delicious gummies are easy to chew and are vegan with no preservatives, gelatin free, no artificial sweeteners, no artificial colour, soy-free. Recommended 1 gummy daily for children of age 5 years and above.
2. Fast&Up Charge Kids- Fast&Up provides high-quality supplements and vitamins to increase performance. Fast&Up Charge Kids has a triple action formula with Immunity Booster Herbs like Curcumin, Ginger and Tulsi which helps strengthen the body's defence system. It has essential nutrients, Active Vitamin C Complex, Natural Amla, 100% RDA Vitamin C which helps to boost immunity. Kids above the age group of 4+ can consume Fast&Up Charge Kidz.
3. NutriBears Daily Multivitamin Gummies- This advanced NutriBears Kid's Multivitamin Gummy supplement helps in filling the gaps in your child's diet. Fortified with a vitamin complex that contains Vitamins A, B5, B12, C, D, and E, as well as Folic Acid, Iodine, Magnesium and Zinc, our vitamin gummies taste great and give your child the boost they need to be at their physical and mental best.
4. Patanjali Nutrela Kid's SuperFood Nutrition Drink- Patanjali Nutrela Kid's Superfood is a scientifically designed advanced formula as per ICMR guidelines for every growing kid for 4-12 years in delicious chocolate flavour. An ideal blend of milk protein and vitamins with botanical extracts. It is 100 per cent vegetarian, GMO-free, gluten-free, no artificial colour, preservative-free and trans-fat-free. Balanced nutrition for active growth with essential amino acids.
5. Amazing Grass Kidz Superfood - Berry Blast- This nutritional smoothie combines the farm fresh greens with a rainbow of over 30 wholesome fruits and veggies providing kids with the whole food nutrition their growing bodies need and the amazing taste they'll love. This plant-based drink is dairy-free, Certified Organic by CCOF - Non-GMO and More. (Agency)
Read More► What to Feed Your Baby in Year One?
Bhopal- A team of scientists at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal have in a review identified the biomolecular relationships between Covid-19, ageing, and diabetes.
The review, published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, presented that existing drugs used to treat diabetes, obesity and ageing can potentially be used to treat Covid-19. Similar naturally existing biomolecules were also explored in combination for the Covid treatment.
"There are classes of compounds such as polyphenols found in plant-based food, curcumin (found in turmeric), and resveratrol (found in grapes), have been shown to not only slow down the ageing process, but also possess anti-viral properties," said Dr. Amjad Husain, Principal Scientist, and CEO of Innovation and Incubation Center for Entrepreneurship (IICE), IISER Bhopal, in a statement.
Some other polyphenols that the researchers have identified as being useful for both Covid-19 treatment and comorbidity conditions such as diabetes and ageing may include catechins (present in green tea, cocoa and berries), procyanidins (found in apples, cinnamon and grape skin), and theaflavin (found in black tea).
The researchers also present evidence of some existing potential anti-ageing drugs such as Rapamycin that can be explored for the Covid-19 treatment because of the common biochemical pathways associated with these diseases. Another such example is a drug Metformin , which is usually used to control blood sugar.
The review showed that at the molecular level, there are intersecting pathways that are common to diabetes, ageing, and Covid-19. All three conditions are associated with oxidative stress and lowering of the immune response and complications arising from them lead to the onset of numerous other diseases such as cardiovascular disorders, eye diseases, neuropathy (nerve diseases), and nephropathy (kidney problems).
The researchers believe that an ideal therapeutic candidate for Covid-19 should be able to target the pathways that are common to diabetes, ageing and the SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Further, computational studies showed that lipids present in cell membranes play an important role in coronavirus infectivity.
Natural compounds such as polyphenols may affect the binding of the virus to host receptors and the molecular interactions required for virus replication and release, thereby stopping the infection in its early stages, the team explained.
Read More► Risk of Stroke Increases With Insulin Resistance: Study
In comparison to adults, children are prone to getting traumatized by troubling events easily, and this makes it important for parents to help their children when the times are tough. It could be a brutal accident, an unprecedented pandemic, a violent crime, or other disasters but with the right parental support, children have a higher chance of coming out stronger from an awful situation.
few tips wherein you can assist your child when tough times comes calling:
Every child responds differently to disturbing events: What children feel about a current disaster in their life and how they react to it can come and go in waves. Children can act moody and withdrawn at times, struck with sorrow and fear at other times. There's no absolute "right" or "wrong" way to feel after a traumatic event so make sure not to dictate what your child or how your child should feel and react to the event.
Encourage your child to be transparent: Just make sure you let your child know that whatever feelings they're experiencing is normal. The unpleasantness will pass if your child opens up about it and that the phase is temporary. While many teens may be reluctant to talk about their feelings with a parent, encourage them to confide in another trusted adult such as a family friend, relative, or a counsellor and teacher. It's important to talk even if it's not with you.
Deter your child from reliving the disturbing event: Dwelling over, watching the footage, or imagining the event can be overwhelmingly stressful for children and this stress can even block their nervous system. However, to negate such things from happening encourage activities that keep your child's mind occupied so they're not obsessive about the event. You could encourage your children to read, play games together, or simply watch an uplifting movie.
Cocoon your child with warmth: In order to reassure your child that they are safe with you and feel secure, that the worst is over your physical affection is important in making them feel safe again. Teens may try to be tough through it and avoid being held, but they still need proximity.
Maintain routines: Establishing a predictable structure and schedule for your child's life can help to make the world seem more stable again. Try to maintain regular times for meals, homework, and family activities. Make sure your child accommodates time and space for rest, play, and fun. Keeping up with a schedule can help countercheck the obnoxious feeling of stress and worry in children about the future being dark, hopeless, and unpredictable.
Acknowledge and validate your child's concerns: The disastrous events in life may give place to unrelated fright and concerns in your child. However, understanding and accepting your child's present state is a comfort for the child. If at any point the child blames himself for the event make sure to make it clear and crisp the event was not their fault, you love them, and it's okay for them to feel upset, angry, or scared but not guilty.
Irrespective of the age of your child: it is vital for parents to offer that extra support and assistance following an unsettling event. The traumatic event may bring up unrelated fears and issues in your child. However, by accepting their thoughts and replacing their fear with your love and direction, the ominous feelings will start to fade away. Eventually, the child will be able to return to a normal and healthy life.
Read More► 7 Tips to Well-Groomed Hands
Patna, Sep 7 (IANS) The children in Bihar are reeling under the grip of a viral fever with most Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) wards in all major hospitals filling up quickly.The doctors at these hospitals fear that the viral fever could be the new variant of the coronavirus. However, it is not confirmed yet by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).The situation reached to such a stage that beds of children ward in prominent hospitals like PMCH, NMCH, Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Patna AIIMS, SKMCH Muzaffarpur, Bhagalpur medical college and hospital are 80 per cent full.As per the reports, three children have died in Saran's Sirsa Khemkaran Tarpur village under Amnaur block in the last four days. Sources have said that around 70 children in the village have viral fever and breathing trouble. A medical team is camping in the village.One child was also died in Gopalganj district. Doctors believe he showed symptoms of Encephalitis (Chamki) fever. The health department has cancelled the leave of all the medical staff. The state government is on high alert.The Bhagalpur Medical College and Hospital has 70 beds in PICU ward and 50 of them are occupied. In NMCH, 136 beds are in PICU ward and 85 of them are occupied. The patients of Sitamarhi, Siwan, Gopalganj, West Champaran and East Champaran were admitted in large numbers. --IANSajk/in
London, Sep 7 (IANS) Covid-19 infection does not appear to affect the lung function of young adults, according to new research presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress on Tuesday.The study, by researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, found that even patients with asthma did not show a statistically significant deterioration in lung function.However, there was a trend towards slightly lower measurements for the amount of air they could exhale forcibly in one second, known as forced expiratory air volume in one second (FEV1), which is one of the measures of lung function."Our analysis showed similar lung function irrespective of Covid-19 history," said Ida Mogensen, a post-doctoral student at Karolinska."When we included 123 participants with asthma in the analysis, the 24 per cent who had had Covid-19 tended towards having a slightly lower lung function, but this was not statistically significant," she added.The team gathered information from 661 young people with an average age 22 years, between October 2020 and May 2021.Collected data included measurements of lung function, inflammation and white blood cells called eosinophils, which are part of the immune system.Of the 661 participants, 178 (27 per cent) had antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 indicating they had been infected.The researchers measured FEV1, FVC (forced vital capacity, which represents the volume of air in the lungs that can be exhaled after a taking the deepest breath possible), and FEV1/FVC ratio, which is an indicator of narrowed airways.They calculated the changes in lung function between the period before the pandemic and during the pandemic. Then they compared the percentage change with participants who had not been infected.There was no difference in lung function among patients who had had Covid-19 with respect to eosinophils, indicators of inflammation, allergy responses or use of inhaled corticosteroids."These results are reassuring for young adults. However, we will continue to analyse data from more people. In particular, we want to look more closely at people with asthma as the group in this study was fairly small. We are also curious as to whether the length of time after the infection is important, as well as the severity of disease and symptoms," Mogensen said.In a separate study, presented at the congress on Sunday, researchers showed that the lung function in children and adolescents was mildly impaired only in those who experienced a severe Covid-19 infection.--IANSrvt/ksk/